When I was nine­teen, my grand­ma called me to ask if she could set me up with one of her friend’s grand­sons, who was alleged­ly very nice and very cute. Sit­ting in my dorm room in the East Vil­lage, The L Word DVD box set an arm’s length away, I felt that it was as good a time as any to tell her what I had just start­ed to tell the rest of my fam­i­ly: Baba, I have a girl­friend now.”

There was a long pause. I could imag­ine her facial expres­sions on the oth­er end of my flip phone as she reor­ga­nized her per­cep­tion of me. The curly land­line cord was no doubt being wrapped around her hand. Final­ly, after a few audi­ble breaths, she said, Is she Jew­ish?” It was the best response I could have hoped for. Yes,” I said, and I could hear her smile. That’s won­der­ful, dar­ling,” she said.

My first girl­friend was not, in fact, Jew­ish (nor would any of my future girl­friends be, for rea­sons to be dis­cussed with my ther­a­pist, no doubt) but I knew this lit­tle lie would make the big reveal eas­i­er to digest. And although I’ve nev­er been some­one who iden­ti­fies as Jew­ish first, as I grew into my new les­bian iden­ti­ty, I real­ized that Jew­ish cul­ture has shaped me. As the grand­daugh­ter of Holo­caust sur­vivors, I come from a lega­cy of per­se­ver­ance in the face of hatred; and as a queer woman, my life is only pos­si­ble because of the gen­er­a­tions of activists who fought for equal rights before me. Jew­ish les­bians live open­ly and freely today because of all dif­fer­ent kinds of survivors.

My iden­ti­ty informs how I move through the world in a way that few peo­ple who don’t share it can relate to, which is part of the rea­son why I love read­ing books by oth­er queer Jew­ish women.

Recent­ly I devoured Milk Fed, Melis­sa Broder’s newest nov­el, which is about a young Jew­ish woman untan­gling her­self from both her anorex­ia and her over­bear­ing moth­er as she falls for a beau­ti­ful fat woman. The con­nec­tion between food and love hit almost a lit­tle too close to home; my own book, which came out one month before Milk Fed, deals large­ly with the process of recov­ery from anorex­ia, and I saw a lot of myself in Broder’s main character.

In Is Rape A Crime?, Michelle Bowdler has cre­at­ed a sear­ing mem­oir-meets-man­i­festo. Writ­ing about her own rape and the after­math — dur­ing which her case was so neglect­ed that her rape kit was­n’t even test­ed — she argues that soci­ety needs to rad­i­cal­ly reframe the crime of rape and how we think about survival.

Red Rock Can­dy Baby, an explo­sive­ly gor­geous graph­ic nov­el by Shi­ra Spec­tor, chron­i­cles Spector’s father’s death as well as the author’s infer­til­i­ty, mar­riage, and oth­er rela­tion­ships. With black-and-white draw­ings that evolve into full-col­or mas­ter­pieces, this book is the best kind of queered storytelling.

I’ve been car­ry­ing around a tiny vol­ume of Jew­ish les­bian poet­ry called Milk & Hon­ey since I was in col­lege. Of every­thing I’ve read by and for Jew­ish les­bians, this one, edit­ed by Julie R. Ensz­er, focus­es most on reli­gion. It’s a won­der­ful, con­fes­sion­al, earnest cel­e­bra­tion of queer love and orga­nized spirituality.

In All My Moth­er’s Lovers by queer Jew­ish writer Ilana Masad, the les­bian pro­tag­o­nist los­es her moth­er in a car crash and finds five let­ters addressed to five dif­fer­ent men in her will. This inter­gen­er­a­tional sto­ry of grief, queer­ness, and rela­tion­ships is a must-read.

Jill Gutowitz’s mem­oir about com­ing of age as a les­bian in the aughts comes out next June, and I was lucky enough to read a draft. Trust me when I say you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cringe. It is so fun­ny and relat­able, and I can’t wait for it to come out so I can give it to every­one I know. And final­ly, in my TBR pile is Long Live The Tribe of Father­less Girls by T Kira Mad­den, a mem­oir that touch­es on queer­ness, race, and Jew­ish identity.

Gabrielle Korn is a jour­nal­ist and dig­i­tal media expert, and the for­mer edi­tor-in-chief of Nylon Media, an inter­na­tion­al lifestyle pub­li­ca­tion focused on emerg­ing cul­ture. She cur­rent­ly runs Most, Netflix’s home of LGBTQ+ sto­ry­telling on social media. She grad­u­at­ed from NYU’s Gal­latin School of Indi­vid­u­al­ized Study in 2011 with a con­cen­tra­tion in feminist/​queer the­o­ry and writ­ing. She lives in Brook­lyn and is the author of Every­body (Else) is Per­fect.